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March 20, 2005

Immigration Debate Continues

Although my schedule has prevented me from making much progress on my immigration series, my primer last week asking whether there were certain instances where emigrating to this country illegally was not sinful generated many great comments that will be useful for my series on the subject.

Friend of this blog, LotharBot, wrote a great post related to my primer and the comments raised by readers. Read it here: Absolute Morality, and the Law as Teacher.

Since the first primer was so successful in generating thoughts, how about another one: What do you think would happen if we were able to locate and deport all the estimated 10 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States?

Posted by Rick at March 20, 2005 05:17 PM

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Tracked on March 31, 2005 04:57 PM


With all due respect, I have to say I find this conversation to be quite ridiculous: Upper middle class white Americans living (and prospering) in a country directly responsible for much of the poverty in countries like Mexico debating whether or not it is sinful for those *impoverished citizens* to cross a border that was taken through war and conquest in order to find ways to feed their families.

Posted by: Ray Grieselhuber at March 20, 2005 07:27 PM

Ray, I think that is the point of the discussion. Did you read up on the comments to my primer on the subject? Did you read LotharBot's post? I think we're suggesting that there are often circumstances where it is not only not sinful to come here illegally, in doing so, one might be doing God's will.

In those situations, I suggest that what is wrong is our law and our attitude towards these immigrants.

BTW - been a while. How you been?

Posted by: Rick Brady at March 20, 2005 08:06 PM

Quick suggestion:

From any of the immigration posts, you should link back to the series intro, and the series intro should be edited to have links to each entry as you write it.

(I'd comment more, but I have some training in 10 minutes, and it's 9 minutes away.)

Posted by: LotharBot at March 20, 2005 08:49 PM

"what is wrong is our law and our attitude towards these immigrants"

No, what is wrong is that their society (usually Mexico, but not always) sucks so much they have to leave it to survive. And most of the poverty in Mexico at least is do to the fact that it has a terribly corrupt and unjust government that keeps its people in a perpetual state of poverty. Mexico is not a country where the rule of law prevails and as much as some people do not like America or its history, this is the fault of the Mexicans who have ruled it, not Americans.

Without an orderly set of immigration laws the regulation of our borders (and eventually the rest of our society) will fall into utter chaos.

Posted by: Pete The Elder at March 20, 2005 09:56 PM

Pete, that's just not sensitive or tolerant. I saddened by this vulgar display of uncaring, greedy Americanism.

I'm kidding.

Posted by: Matt at March 21, 2005 12:19 AM

And Rick - I'm glad you're tackling the issue and perhaps I'm not being discerning enough, but how does the sinfulness (or lack thereof) of illegal border crossing relate to the legality (or illegality) of the act? That's got to be established, and in a hurry.

And besides, are there any serious voices suggesting that we deport every illegal here?

Posted by: Matt at March 21, 2005 12:24 AM

Ray, with all due respect, do you really want to put up a fuss over the caues of the Mexican War? Seriously? I've read Foner and I know the whole thing was a land grab, but in 150 years Mexico couldn't get its act together? Why not just lay the blame at the feet of the Pope and the Spanish Crown?

Posted by: Matt at March 21, 2005 12:28 AM

Rick - I'm good, thanks. We're leaving for NZ tomorrow. How are you?

I understand the context of the post and if I was able to provide my opinion on the whole issue, then good. My point is just that even the idea of us (as privileged Americans) even having this discussion seems unfair given our removal from the daily struggle of the people we're discussing and it at least deserves (if we are going to have it) a much more critical look at the sins of our own country toward these people.

Matt - for Americans, 150 years may seem like ancient history. Part of that is due to our short history and part seems to be due to our even shorter memories, especially when we want people to just "get over it" in regards to our violent expansion across North America. Did you know that the U.S. government has never even formally apologized to those who were "displaced" by our expansion. Why do you think that is?

But, we don't even need to go back 150 years. Harmful U.S. foreign economic policies toward Mexico and many other developing countries are well-documented. These abuses take place in the form of government-subsidized American agricultural companies (ADM, for one) deliberately underselling farmers in Oaxaca, putting them out of business and pushing them north.

There are many other countries, not just Mexico, that, through the IMF and the World Bank the U.S. and other first world nations suffer greatly and are unable to, as you suggest, "get their act together".

Posted by: Ray Grieselhuber at March 21, 2005 06:10 AM

Matt, do not forget the brave Texians who only revolted from the Mexican government after the tyrant Santa Ana seized power.

And also if we are going to start blaming countries for other country's poverty, lets start blaming Mexico for much of America's poverty. Mexico (with the consent of many of its government officials) allows harmful drugs into America, which devestate our poor communities and keep thousands in poverty. Its allowal (and in many cases active apporval of) massive illegal immigration suppresses the potential wages of the poorest among us. Rich and middle class people are not the ones most hurt by illegal immigration (not counting other crimes committed by some illegal immigrants). It is the poor and working class that illegal immigration primarily hurts.

Posted by: Pete The Elder at March 21, 2005 10:44 AM

Pete, good point. If we're going to apologize to Mexico for annexing a sparsely populated region in the Southwest, then perhaps we should ask Mexico City for an apology for the slaughter at the Alamo.

Posted by: Matt at March 21, 2005 10:52 AM